How to Win Back Summer Drops

How to Win Back Summer Drops

In this blog post, I will discuss a critical yet often overlooked aspect of student retention: marketing to students who dropped out in the spring and did not return in the fall. Amid the excitement of welcoming new students during the fall rush, it’s easy to forget about those who did not come back to re-enroll. However, reaching out to these individuals is important, as they can still benefit from your music lessons and could potentially return.

If you believe your music lessons can help children and enrich their lives, it’s your moral obligation to share your message and be persistent and consistent in your marketing efforts.

Why Students Don’t Return in the Fall

Getting Settled into the School Year

Parents may want to give their children the time and support they need to adjust to the new school year, especially if they are transitioning to a new school. They just might need some time to ease into new routines before adding after school activities. 

Overwhelmed Parents

Parents might feel overwhelmed by their schedules and may prefer to wait until they can manage things more comfortably before committing to more schedules. Balancing work, family, and other responsibilities can make it challenging to take on new commitments.

Scheduling Conflicts

Conflicts with other activities, such as soccer, are common. However, if your music school offers weekend classes, this might still work for some families. Flexibility in scheduling can be a key factor in accommodating busy family lives.

Overscheduled Kids

Some parents prefer not to overschedule their children and may prioritize other activities over music lessons. They want to ensure their children have enough downtime to relax and enjoy their hobbies.

Lack of Interest

Sometimes, children simply don’t enjoy music lessons and feel burdened by practice expectations, which can significantly affect their decision not to return. Encouraging them to try a new instrument or finding creative ways to make lessons more engaging and fun can help reignite their interest.

Persistence is a sign of professionalism and confidence. It shows that you care and it keeps you on their mind.

Strategies to Re-Engage Inactive Students

If you believe your music lessons can help children and enrich their lives, it’s your moral obligation to share your message and be persistent and consistent in your marketing efforts. Don’t worry about being too assertive if you are passionate about helping children. Consistent outreach and follow up is a sign of professionalism and confidence. Parents are likely to appreciate and respect you for your efforts.  

Below is a detailed strategy for re-engaging student drops. 

1. Get Your Data in Order

Start by creating a spreadsheet of all spring and summer dropouts. Include those who dropped out as you rolled into the fall.

2. Strategize Around Local Schedules

Make note of the start dates of the top five schools your students attend. Make notes of start and end dates of the most popular soccer leagues your students participate in. This information can help you develop a marketing plan based on these fluctuations in your market. 

3. Use Targeted Marketing Efforts

Develop specific marketing efforts based on why students did not return. For example, plan an email and phone campaign to reach out to parents who wanted their child to settle into the school year mid to late September. Your messaging could open with ‘I hope your child is feeling settled into the new school year…” 

4. Be Consistent and Persistent

Many music schools send one or two emails or texts and then give up. Instead, keep contacting prospects or summer drops until you get a response, whether it is a yes or a no. Determine how many hours or days you will wait between each outreach effort. My strategy is as follows:  

  • 4 initial outreach efforts
  • 48-72 hours between each effort
  • Try again in 2 months
  • Try again in 3 months 
  • Try again in 6 months
  • Annual check in via email sequence

Crafting Effective Marketing Messages

Here is how you can craft compelling marketing messages to re-engage students:

1. Email Marketing

Send personalized emails to parents who want their children to settle into the school year. The email below is short and to the point. It presents a this-or-that option, making it easier for parents to make a decision. It also uses an assumptive close to encourage the parent to make a decision. 

“I hope Zachary is having a good start to the school year! I just wanted to let you know that his teacher, Marty, has an opening on Monday at 4pm and Thursday at 6pm. Do either of these times work better for you?”

2. Follow-Up

If you do not get a response, follow up with another email, text, or call. Persistence is a sign of professionalism and confidence. It shows that you care and it keeps you on their mind. You could reply to your original email and readdress it to the same parent. This will add a reply or “RE:” to your email subject. Emails with “RE:” have shown to have better open rates. 

End of Soccer Season Campaign

Two weeks before the soccer season ends, launch an email marketing campaign. Include a call to action link to identify who has clicked on it. Call or text leads that are clicking on your links. Here is a sample message:

Hello (Their Name),

No more muddy back seats from dirty cleats. No more standing in the rain. Soccer season is coming to an end. Onward to new, exciting activities and adventures for your child. How about a little piano playing around the house or some guitar to keep you warm on the cold days ahead? 

Everybody loves music. Your child will love playing it. Click here to start today.

(Your name)

Email Marketing Platforms vs Gmail

kids playing soccer

Use email marketing platforms such as MailChimp, ActiveCampaign or Constant Contact to automate your campaigns and promotions to track their performance. These tools will show you who has opened and clicked on the links in your emails. You can use this data to be even more targeted in your efforts. If you’re running a promotion, send multiple emails before its deadline, and follow up with phone calls for those who have consistently opened and clicked on your emails. 

Nurturing Relationships for Referrals

Even if only a small percentage of drops return, maintaining relationships with former students can still yield referrals. Send personalized, non-sales emails periodically to show you remember and care about them. Perhaps a birthday card or an annual ‘I hope Charlie is having a good school year’ email. This keeps you top of mind and increases the likelihood of referrals.

Automate with a CRM

Use a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) to manage and automate these tasks. Schedule follow-up emails and make notes about each student’s situation to personalize your communication.

In Conclusion

Implementing these strategies can help re-engage students who did not return and turn them into loyal clients or valuable referral sources. While it may be too late to apply all these tactics this year, you can certainly start planning and implementing parts of them now. Don’t give up on those who dropped out—your persistence and personalized approach can make a significant difference.

Author: Dave Simon

Dave Simon is a former music school owner and Business Development Manager at Ensemble Performing Arts. He is also the host of Music Lessons and Marketing – a free Facebook group and podcast that teaches music school owners how to effectively market and grow their business.

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